The Music Department is a thriving and exciting place to be. We are like one big happy family and there is a great emphasis on fun! There is always something happening, whether it is the day to day rehearsals which take place throughout the week or our annual Young Musician Competition which culminates in the final held at the Wiltshire Music Centre. We are totally inclusive and strongly believe that every student has something to offer this wonderful subject.
Key Stage 3
Music in Key Stage three offers students a fabulous opportunity to develop their skills in performing, composing and the appreciation of music. Students experience performing in Year 7 with a concert, they then perform throughout the other years to their peers in lessons. Students are introduced to music technology in year 8 when they have the opportunity to use Sibelius on music computers and have an introduction to traditional notation. In year 9 students build upon their skills developed and compose Blues songs, perform a Stomp routine and become familiar with the music industry. The department has developed Step Sheets for almost all the topics covered throughout KS 3 which enable students to understand what levels they are achieving and how to reach the next step!
Why study music?
Music is a subject which allows you to express yourself, grow in confidence and develop lifelong skills. Musicians are thought very highly of as they are motivated, determined and committed people.
In choosing music you demonstrate a level of discipline, an ability to work with others and an excellent understanding of so many skills which could be transferred in so many ways and in so many situations. You are probably getting to a level in performance and understanding of the subject where working with like minded people would be rewarding and immensely satisfying.
What will I learn?
The board we chose to study at Key Stage 4 is OCR, specification J535. You will continue to develop your skills and knowledge in performing, composing and listening.
This specification has 4 Areas of Study which will help you to increase your depth of knowledge and understanding in the above areas:
– My Music
– Shared Music
– Dance Music
– Descriptive Music
Within these Area of Studies you will cover some of the following material: History of your instrument and the influences on the way it is used, explore the relationships of the roles of voices and instruments in areas such as Pop Ballads, classical concertos, Baroque and classical chamber music, great choral classics and African and Capella singing. You will also learn about the Waltz, Latin Dances, Line Dance, Bhangra, Disco and Club Dance. In our look at Descriptive Music you will understand how composers write Programme Music, Film Music and compose music to express a story or mood.
How will I be assessed?
There are 4 assessment units:
– Unit B351: Integrated Tasks (controlled assessment)
This includes a performance (15%), composition (10%) and a commentary (5%).
In total 30% of the examination.
– Unit B352: Practical Portfolio (controlled assessment)
A portfolio containing a group of performances (15%), a composition (10%) and a log commentary (5%).
In total 30% 0f the examination.
– Unit B353: Creative Task (A timed task in exam conditions)
You will compose a short piece from a given stimulus and communicate your work. In total 15% of the examination.
– Unit B354: Listening Task (A written paper which lasts approximately 1 hour)
This will test your knowledge on all the material covered in Area of Study 2, 3 and 4.
(In total 25% of the examination)
The AS music exam is split into 3 units:
– Introduction to Historical Study in Music
In the performance examination you will perform a solo recital, have Viva Voce discussing your recital and then perform either in an ensemble on your first instrument or perform on a second instrument.
You will be pleased to know that there is slightly more weighting on the performance section of this specification.
The composing unit consists of you having to complete 6 harmony exercises over the year and 1 in of controlled conditions at the end of the course. The second section of this unit asks that you compose a composition for between 4 and 10 instruments and lasting not more than 3 minutes.
The historical study in Music is a written examination which consists of 3 sections, the first being an aural extract, the second, questions on the prescribed set works and the third an essay which brings together elements of all the set works and history you have studied.
Examination Board OCR (H542)
The A2 specification is again divided up into 3 main units. The practical examination requires a 15 minute recital with a clear focus and followed by a more detailed Viva Voce.
As far as composition is concerned you will be studying and writing chorales and harmonising in the style of J.S. Bach and composing one of the following:
– Vocal setting of a text (maximum 120 words)
– Instrumental interpretation of a programme
– Music for film/television
Again the Historical and Analytical studies in music is a written exam, section A is aural based and B requires you to write 2 essays on the topic music for The Stage.
Students who take music as an AS or A level subject are expected to be approximately Grade 5 ABRSM standard or equivalent on their principle instrument and should really have Grade 5 theory or have gained at least a B grade at GCSE level.
Music students are expected to take a leading role in the extra curricular life of the department which does include participating in Senior Choir.
Music demands an immense amount of self discipline is time consuming and requires you to have a passion for the subject. However, the rewards of studying music in the sixth form are incredible; you will experience amazing camaraderie, lots of fun and develop skills which you will probably use for the rest of your life!!